Contents | April 2002
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More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.
The Atlantic Monthly | April 2002
Hear Patricia Clark read this poem (in RealAudio)
by Patricia Clark
Most watery of all the trees, these willows
stand in water. Ice pools around the ankles of willows.
A tree's name should reveal its nature.
Salix babylonica: the first word is for willow.
Doesn't it sound stretchy and pliable?
Babylonica is for the weeping part of willow.
From a quotation in Psalms: by the rivers of Babylon
we wept. The people hung harps on willows.
The weight gave them a bent, permanent shape.
A girl flings her hair down, a young willow.
A golden color, like a shout, all the length
of the fronds. They light up the willow.
Nearby on the concrete ramp, an ice-filled boat
waits for the sun to unmoor it, sail it past the willows.
In the season of thaw, this ice giving way.
By the rivers of America, we wept these willows.
Copyright © 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; April 2002; Riverside Ghazal; Volume 289, No. 4; 88.